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One in five retired Brits fell for a financial scam

As warnings from the regulator skyrocketed by 100% in one year

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Nearly a fifth (17.5%) of British retirees have been a victim of a financial scam, research by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) revealed.

The study of people between the age of 55 and 75 found that the most common reason for being defrauded was falling for legitimate-looking online adverts and websites (28%), followed by being offered high returns (19%), and the caller sounding trustworthy over the phone (18%).

Of those who managed to avoid financial scams, the vast majority (63%) were concerned about becoming a victim.

The lifeboat scheme said that more than three-quarters (76%) of non-victims managed to stay alert thanks to reading about these types of fraud in the media, while 24% said that someone close to them had been scammed.

The FSCS also discovered different attitudes according to the respondents’ gender. Men are less likely to be concerned with falling victim to fraudsters (57%) compared to women (49%).

‘Remain vigilant’

Data from the Financial Conduct Authority suggests that scam activity is on the rise, with 1,204 warnings issued throughout 2020, a 100% increase from 2019.

The lifeboat scheme said it receives several alerts every week about scammers impersonating the FSCS or falsely claiming FSCS protection for their bogus investments.

Caroline Rainbird, FSCS chief executive, said: “Scams are becoming more commonplace, better coordinated and harder to spot.

“We are helping to tackle scams where we can, for example by monitoring and reporting scams to the financial regulator, the FCA, but given the scale of the issue, consumers need to act as the first line of defence.

“By remaining vigilant and asking themselves, is the provider genuine, and is the person they’re speaking to who they say they are, consumers will be able to better protect themselves from this growing threat.”

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